The St Vincent de Paul Society – via a grant from, Presbyterian Care – West Tamar Lions, and West Tamar Rotary Club have combined forces to make a real difference to children in need along the West Tamar.
By combining three small donations into one sizeable offering of close to $8,000 the three charities were able to purchase a number of items for students at Exeter High School, Exeter Primary School, and Beaconsfield Primary School.
The donations covered the costs of sun hats so students could socialise and have fun with their friends outside. Sunhats are important to protect students from the sun on a hot day. Many schools do not allow children to play outside without a sunhat, which can affect a child’s social development and sense of belonging.
The donation also covered the purchase of mouth-guards so children from families that could not afford mouth-guards could participate in healthy sporting activities – often representing their schools – which build confidence, self-esteem, friendships, and cooperative skills; while breaking down social barriers.
Finally, the donation helped pay for school clothing that is donated to disadvantaged families on a needs basis.
Poverty in childhood is damaging to children, to their life chances, and to communities.
All areas of a child’s life are adversely affected by poverty: home, school, friendships and more. The most visible aspect is that they do not have what their friends have. Child poverty impacts on children’s ability to enjoy their childhoods and achieve their aspirations.
Research has shown that family income impacts on children’s lives and development in a variety of ways. Living on a low-income increases parents’ stress levels, in turn affecting relationships and family dynamics. Increases in family income can boost children’s educational achievements, and emotional and physical wellbeing.
Parents worry about the impact poverty has on their children, particularly that they may be bullied. Children living in poverty frequently report feeling excluded and embarrassed, citing it as a key source of unhappiness, and worry about their parents in turn.
By making this $8,000 donation of clothing, sun hats, and mouth-guards – as well as demonstrating that the community does care about children – the charities hope to improve the lives of those they seek to help and to level the academic, social, and sporting playing fields for students in Exeter and Beaconsfield.